As there doesn't seem to be a section in the forums for general Action Man discussions/queries, I'll post this here.
I've just listed the GI Joe 40th version of this set for sale (plug-plug!
) and was reminded of this particular "almost" part of Action Man painted-head era history.
As collectors know, this set was part of the original 1964 GI Joe Action Pilot range, but when the same range was released for Action Man in 1966, this uniform was conspicuous by its absence.
A puzzling omission, as there was so little already available in the Action Pilot range, which would have made this a welcome addition. Not only that, but the uniform was paired by GI Joe collectors in the USA with the Air Police accessory card, which was also available in the Action Man range, but with no Dress Pilot uniform to team up with it.
However, it looks like this set was at one time intended for release in the Action Man range. In Ian Harrison's 'Action Man' The Official Dossier', there is a list of Action Man figures and equipment compiled from the original Palitoy trade catalogues and price lists stored at the Leicestershire Records Office.
In the Palitoy documentation for 1968-69, when the company was still releasing GI Joe sets under the Action Man brand, among GI joe items such as Breeches Buoy, Infantry Support Weapons, Sabotage and Armoured Car Commander, there is a listing for 'Air Force Dress Parade' with the catalogue number 34139 assigned to it.
So it seems that Palitoy did intend to release this set at one point but decided not to, thus omitting a major GI Joe set from the Action Man range.
Can anyone else shed further light on this issue?